A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit number used for taxpayer identification, income reporting, and record-keeping purposes. Once issued, the number is valid for a lifetime. You should keep it safe and provide only as needed to US government agencies or credible financial institutions.
F-1 and J-1 students who are authorized for employment can apply for an SSN. More specifically:
Please note, the Social Security Administration has suspended face-to-face service nationwide until further notice due to the current pandemic. This means that at this time students applying for a Social Security Number due to Curricular Practical Training or on-campus employment cannot apply for a Social Security Number. Students applying for Optional Practical Training can still apply for a Social Security Number by completing the relevant questions on their form I-765. We do NOT recommend applying through the SSA using the "mail-in" option.
Note: SSN applications will not be accepted if there is fewer than fourteen days before the end of their work authorization. There are no exceptions so plan accordingly.
Go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live, with your documents, to submit an application for a Social Security number. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints.
Complete the Social Security related questions on the Form I-765, an application form you must submit to the US government for your employment application. More details can be found on our I-765 explained page.
If you applied for OPT using an earlier form I-765 that didn't include the Social Security Number option, you will instead need to go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live, along with your documents, to submit an application for a Social Security number once your OPT application is approved and after the start date as listed on your EAD. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints.
Go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live with the following documents to submit an application for a SSN. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints.
Students receiving a fellowship or scholarship who are not expected to work beyond their own studies cannot apply for an SSN. Instead, they will be asked by the university to complete, among other papers, a W-7 form to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) necessary to file their tax forms.
It’s important that you protect your SSN and guard yourself against identity theft. If you lost your SSN card you will need to reapply for a new one. You can only apply for a replacement card if you are authorized to work off-campus or have an on-campus job at NYU.